Woollam Foundation Awards Grant

We are excited to announce that the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy has received a grant from the J. A. Woollam Foundation designed to help increase our membership and to help with the next stage of our plans to acquire 161 acres of land at Hall’s Lake in western Isabella County, near the border with Mecosta County.

The Woollam Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation based in Lincoln, Nebraska, has awarded a dollar-for-dollar matching grant up to $60,000, tied to the following eligibility criteria:

All new memberships in the CWC in 2012.
All lapsed memberships that are renewed in 2012.
Any increased membership levels, for example, an existing member who increases a donation from $25 in 2011 to $50 in 2012 – the $25 increase will be matched.
Any donation greater than $500 in 2012.
This is an opportunity to build on our fundraising through new memberships and renewals while also helping the Hall’s Lake Natural Area acquisition project. Funds raised from membership contributions will be designated to support the operating budget or for stewardship. The matching funds provided by the Woollam Foundation will be designated for additional land purchases at Hall’s Lake.

The CWC began the project to permanently preserve the undeveloped east side of Hall’s Lake in 2008 with the purchase of a 22-acre parcel, called the Neely Preserve. Two landowners are holding an additional 139 acres of adjoining land until we are able to acquire funds to purchase it. In the meantime, they have allowed trails, benches and interpretive signage to be extended from the Neely Preserve throughout the adjoining parcels, and permitted public access for nature walks and hiking while the acquisition effort continues. All of the land is collectively called the Hall’s Lake Natural Area. A series of nature hikes called “4th Thursday at Hall’s Lake” brought opportunities to explore the property while being led by experts on trees, natural history, mushrooms and birds. The program was so successful it will be continued throughout the spring and summer of 2012.

We need to raise about $300,000 to finish the acquisition of these two additional parcels. Successful completion of the Woollam Foundation and the Carls Foundation challenge grants will bring us $180,000 closer to that goal by the end of 2012. This 161-acre tract will be a tremendous resource for people looking to enjoy nature and for its natural science educational opportunities in an area where there is not a lot of public land available.

If you are a lapsed CWC member or know someone who is a lapsed member or who has never joined, please share this news with them. It is a wonderful opportunity to double the value of a membership contribution. Or, for donations over $500.00, a contribution may be matched by both foundations, effectively tripling the value of the donation. For additional information, call the CWC office at (989) 644-5045. You may also use a downloadable standard membership form and mail your contribution.